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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Coming in Western Australia in 2018

This year has been a big one for Western Australia, and it's only going to get bigger in 2018, with a number of exciting new projects and experiences coming to life. Everyone is starting to talk about WA, and with Perth, the State's capital city undergoing such a significant period of change – that's not about to stop anytime soon. We've put together a rundown of what will be trending in WA for 2018.
Yagan Square will to open to the public in early 2018, and is set to become one of the city's most popular community, meeting and celebration places. It will be a hub of activity during the day and night with cafes, restaurants, green spaces, native gardens, public art, interactive digital media, pop-ups and shopping providing plenty to see and do.

Perth is fast becoming a sport-lover's dream destination following the construction of the 60,000 seat Optus Stadium, which will officially open in January 2018. The stadium will be one of the major sporting and entertainment venues for Perth and one of the top international sporting venues in Australia.

It'll also be home to Australian Rules Football in WA, with the first AFL game to be between the Fremantle Dockers and Collingwood women's teams on February 10, followed by the main season with the first game at the stadium on March 25.

Accommodation openings
Perth now offers some of the best value hotel and short-stay accommodation in Australia following the raft of new and refurbished properties that have opened in the CBD and surrounding urban and coastal areas.
Humpback whale interaction tours have been given the green light to continue for the 2018 season. The tours will return to Exmouth and Coral Bay from August to November 2018, following the successful inaugural season in 2016. The tours offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to interact with the whales as they swim by or rest in the temperate Ningaloo waters, and complement the region's other nature-based offerings such as whale shark swims, and manta ray interactions.
History will be made when Qantas' daily direct Perth to London flights take off in March 2018, becoming the first regular passenger service directly linking Australia and Europe. Many visitors from Europe are expected to kick-start their Australian experience with a stay in Perth, while people from other Australian states will fly domestically to Perth and stay before connecting to the non-stop London service, the world's third-longest passenger flight.
WA will again have its chance to shine on the big screen in 2018, with the release of Breath, which was shot in the State's South West around the picturesque town of Denmark. Based on the award-winning novel by celebrated WA author Tim Winton, Breath is the directorial feature film debut from Hollywood actor Simon Baker (The Mentalist, The Devil Wears Prada), who also stars in the film. Simon Baker said: “Breath is a story that resonates with me, not only as a surfer and a parent but ultimately as a child reared on the magnificent Australian coastline. I'm excited to show the trailer to audiences here and to bring Tim Winton's classic story to the big screen.”

New public precincts
Situated 15-minutes from the CBD, Scarborough's ongoing revitalisation projectaims to create one of Australia's best beachfront destinations, while creating a vibrant hub of activity with new restaurants, cafes, shops and entertainment. Forming the centrepiece of the redevelopment is the Scarborough Pool Facility, due to open on 22 January 2018. The 8-lane, 50-metre beach-side pool will be a popular spot for locals and tourists this summer.
Perth's east end, spanning from Barrack Street in the west to Hill Street in the east, will start to transform throughout 2018 thanks to not-for-profit group, Historic Heart of Perth. The project aims to reinvigorate and revitalise the area, with a vision to create an identifiable neighbourhood with a strong sense of place. A number of art-led initiatives are currently in the works, with the first being the installation of 65 planter boxes featuring native wildflowers. This project is ahead of the opening of The Westin – a five star, 368-room hotel which will be situated in the area, and is set to open in April 2018.
Another exciting development is Fremantle's Kings Square Renewal. The $270 million project is one of the biggest in Fremantle's history, and will see the area transformed into a vibrant cultural, community and commercial hub. The redevelopment, which is expected to be finished by late 2019, will include specialty retail and dining precincts, new commercial spaces including office accommodation, a revamped city square with landscaped grassed areas, public art and new street furniture, plus a new civic chamber and state-of-the-art library and visitor centre experiences.

A new world-class venue – Perth's Optus Stadium
The stadium will officially open to the public on January 21 with a Community Open Day, followed by the One Day International cricket match between Australia and England. Tickets for the match sold out in days, which will make it the most attended sporting event in WA's history.
In March, the opening round of the 2018 National Rugby League Telstra Premiership season will kick off at the stadium on Saturday March 10 with a double header as the Canterbury-Brankstown Bulldogs take on the Melbourne Storm, and the South Sydney Rabbitohs clash with the New Zealand Warriors.
And in a coup for soccer fans, Premier League powerhouse Chelsea Football Club will head to Perth in July or August for an international match against Perth Glory Football Club. The match will be the first international soccer club appearance at Optus Stadium, and an Australian exclusive.
Live music performances will also be part of the stadium's offering with major international artists Ed Sheeran performing on March 2 and 3, and Taylor Swift on October 19.
It's about quality and quantity with a broad selection of boutique, big name and luxury accommodation options set to open in Perth. This includes The Westin – a five star, 368-room hotel in Perth's east end, set to open in April 2018. The historic Melbourne Hotel in Perth's CBD will reopen in early-2018 following a major refurbishment, with the heritage-listed property transformed into a seven-storey, 4.5 star hotel with 73 new or refurbished rooms, and new dining experiences.
Other hotels earmarked to open in Perth in 2018 include the QT on Barrack Street in Perth CBD, and DoubleTree by Hilton in Northbridge.

The RitzCarlton will make its first foray into Australia in 10 years, with the opening of a 204-room hotel at Elizabeth Quay in 2019.
Meanwhile, on Perth's Rottnest Island, Pinky's Eco Retreat will open in time for summer 2018/19, which is set to offer 86 glamping tents, as well as a bar, cafĂ©, restaurant and function area. Hotel Rottnest is also set for a major refurbishment.
Since 2012, 24 new or redeveloped hotels have opened in and around Perth, adding more than 2,200 new rooms to the local market. In the next four years, a further 15 new or redeveloped hotels will come online, adding more than 2,300 new rooms.

Humpback whale swims at Ningaloo Reef

Direct aviation access
Qantas will mobilise its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet for the 14,500 kilometre each-way journey. Enhanced cabin design, improved air quality, and technology to reduce noise and turbulence are all designed to make the long-haul journey more comfortable for up to 236 passengers across business, premium economy and economy.
In other aviation news, international air services linking Broome in the Kimberley to Singapore, will be tried from June 2018. SilkAir, the regional arm of Singapore Airlines, will operate four return flights to the exotic pearling town using Boeing 737 aircraft, which can carry 150 economy and 12 business class passengers.

WA on the big screen
Breath is produced by Emmy-winning United States producer Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad, The Notebook, Rain Man), and Australian producer Jamie Hilton of See Pictures (The Little Death, The Waiting City, Backtrack). Breath releases in Australian cinemas in May, 2018. The release of Breath follows a raft of films and documentaries shot in WA including Ben Elton's Three Summers which was filmed around the Peel region south of Perth, Jasper Jones with Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving (Pemberton in WA's South), Red Dog and Red Dog: True Blue (the Pilbara region in WA's North), Bran Nue Dae (Broome in WA's North), surfing film Driftstarring Sam Worthington (Margaret River), Son of a Gun with Ewan McGregor (Perth, Fremantle, Kalgoorlie), and Baz Luhrmann's Australia with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (the Kimberley in WA's North).

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